The Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and predictably, the chatter surrounding marquee players that could be moved is only getting louder as deals become more imminent.
Kevin Garnett and Josh Smith are the headliners, but there are several others of note that could be on the move. With a little bit of a break in regular-season action, this weekend marks the prime time for talks to heat up.
Here is a breakdown of the latest rumors swirling during the All-Star break.
The Kevin Garnett-Los Angeles Clippers story isn't going away yet
The Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly not giving up on acquiring The Big Ticket, despite Garnett's articulated loyalty to the Celtics organization.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! took to Twitter to confirm that assertion on Saturday afternoon:
Clippers confident they could change Kevin Garnett's mind about a trade if the Celtics tell him they want to do it, a source tells Y! sports— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 16, 2013
That came just hours after another attempt by Garnett to extinguish the speculation that he will be dealt, especially considering he has a no-trade clause.
"If its up to me I will live and die green," KG said. When reminded its up to him, KG said: "OK then. So what are we talking about it?"— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 16, 2013
This whole prospective move seems like a non-story based on Garnett's consistent comments to the media about it, but Spears' sources have once again ignited further deliberation. The deal would allegedly include athletic point guard Eric Bledsoe and massive center DeAndre Jordan.
What makes this all the more head-scratching is how well the Celtics have managed since the torn ACL suffered by star point guard Rajon Rondo. Boston has won seven of its past eight games, with a three-point loss to the Charlotte Bobcats being the only blemish.
It would be surprising to see a deal go down at this point, but the Clippers won't halt negotiations just yet.
Josh Smith's potential landing spots
A lot of conjecture has surrounded Smith, especially since his contract is expiring this offseason. He will demand a massive contract, especially if he continues playing as well as he has over the past month or so.
Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio reports that it is all but a lock that Smith will have a new NBA destination this coming Wednesday or sooner.
...Sources all but guarantee Atlanta forward Josh Smith will be moved. No one is quite sure where he might go, although Brooklyn, Dallas and Phoenix are mentioned most as possible destinations.
The report goes on to cite an Eastern Conference general manager who stated that Smith could wind up with the San Antonio Spurs as well, and that the team wouldn't have to give up much in return.
All the other possible suitors make some sense for Smith. The Brooklyn Nets have been aggressive and centered around several trade talks, and Amico notes that they are also very interested in Utah's Paul Millsap and Portland's J.J. Hickson.
The Mavs need serious help on defense, which Smith would provide, and the Phoenix Suns simply need to upgrade their roster as they sit at the bottom of the Western Conference.
Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times suggests that the Milwaukee Bucks are also at least exploring the possibility of acquiring the mercurial forward:
There r whispers Bucks r in Josh Smith Sweepstakes.— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) February 16, 2013
Considering the palatable plethora of possibilities, Hawks GM Danny Ferry should find a way to unload Smith to avoid dealing with his contract situation this summer.
Everyone is fair game for the Milwaukee Bucks
Speaking of Milwaukee, this bold proclamation by beat writer Woelfel indicates that point guard Brandon Jennings may not be safe from being dealt:
Contrary to ESPN report, Bucks NEVER offered Jennings a four-year, $40M extension offer.— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) February 15, 2013
The extension would have certainly cemented Jennings in Milwaukee, but another report filed by Woelfel on Saturday notes that the Bucks brass are considering all their options:
Some league officials claim the Bucks are willing to deal virtually anyone on their roster, although they say Monta Ellis, who has an opt-out after this season, and center Samuel Dalembert, who has an expiring contract, appear the most likely candidates to be traded.
Dalembert's name has emerged thanks to a record-setting performance in which he put up 35 points and 12 rebounds in just 27 minutes earlier this month against the Denver Nuggets.
Ellis and Jennings have co-existed relatively well in the backcourt, but that tandem isn't viable for the team's long-term success as far as building a champion is concerned. Each explosive guard would command valuable assets as the Bucks continue to build for the future.
One of the three aforementioned players could be used as pieces in a possible deal for Smith, as Woelfel has heard that Milwaukee may be trying to get in on the action.